Big US-UK split on the outcome of the White House Race

Big US-UK split on the outcome of the White House Race

bush kerry

Betting on the US Presidential election in the UK is now totally out of alignment with betting markets serving the US. If you want to bet on Bush do it in the US – for Kerry then bet in the UK. The Bush returns in the US are now almost double those in the UK and the prices have never been so far apart.

    British punters are taking a much more pessimistic view of Kerry’s chances and this provides really good betting value if those closest to the action are calling it right.

In spite a run of poor poll ratings for the Democrat ticket punters on the Iowa Electronic Exchange, where what are termed “political futures” are traded as if they were stocks and shares, has the Bush and Kerry prices almost level.

This contrasts very sharply with UK prices where the best bookmaker Bush price is 1/2 – or roughly half the return you would get on the Iowa market. The best Kerry price is 13/8.

Even the US-focused betting exchange, Tradesports, has prices of 4/5 on Bush and 5/4 on Kerry.

Iowa is one of the most fascinating political betting markets and is run by the university as a way of studying how markets operate. To bet you buy “shares” in what you think is going to happen. These are priced at less than $1 which is what you receive if your selection wins. So if you buy Bush now at, say, 0.51 you will get a dollar for each share should he win the largest share of the vote in November. You can trade them 24 hours a day.

There is usually a huge amount of liquidity in the markets and the prices are a good indicator of informed US opinion. To compare an IEM price with a UK one you divide 1 by the IEM price. Thus an IEM quote of 0.25 would equal standard betting shop odds of 3-1. The current Iowa prices are 0.49 on Kerry and 0.51 on Bush – or the equivalent of about evens on both candidates.

But note – the Iowa market is on who will get most votes not who will win. So last time Gore backers would have won.

Mike Smithson

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